Please help me welcome Josephine Angelini, author of Dreamless (Starcrossed #2)! She’s stopping by today with a guest post as part of her Dreamless Blog Tour hosted by Mundie Moms! Follow the tour for a chance to win a Kindle (see details below)! Also, mark your calendars because tomorrow, WEDNESDAY 5/30, Harper Teen is hosting a LIVE chat with Josie on Facebook at 9 PM EDT!
Writing Mythology vs. Fairytale
by Josephine Angelini
I love a good fairy tale. And a good myth. They have a lot in common, but there are several things that distinguish one from the other.
First off, fairy tales are creepier—especially the older ones. They all start with some tender young thing wandering into the woods, and end with children eating houses and then getting eaten themselves, or grandma getting eaten, or someone getting baked in a pie by a giant or some such gory mess. Myths are just as gory, but they aren’t creepy. They usually start with sex and end with someone either getting cursed, turned into a monster, or killing a monster. On the whole, myths are more about lust, monsters, and quests, and they are handled by professionals—adult demigods who know how to cope with hydras and Cyclopes’—not lost children or pretty girls with dwarf fetishes.
Another difference that I see between myth and fairy tales is that fairy tales are big on drawing a line between good and bad, while a lot of the heroes in Greek myth are not the pure-as-driven-snow kind that we’re used to from reading so many comics. Greek heroes are much more, well, human than our modern day Supermen. They do stupid stuff. They do terrible stuff. They somehow manage to do a few good things along way. That’s why I like them. Greek heroes, and Greek gods for that matter, are not good because they are powerful. Rather, they are powerful, and every now and again they surprise us and do something good.
Not so in fairy tales. There’s a good guy, a bad guy, a kid with a basket—and everyone knows where each character stands on the issues of house eating and cannibalism. There is a moral clarity to fairy tales that is very appealing. In general, the wicked witch did it and Prince Charming will find a way to get the Princess out of the tower. Most importantly, when the story ends there is a promise that all the characters will live happily ever after.
This point leads me to the final difference between myth and fairy tale. The Greeks didn’t hold with the idea that people could be happy forever. Happiness isn’t even mentioned. Most of the characters in Greek myth do a bunch of stuff with their lives and then die one day; as if the Greeks believed that even the life of a hero or a demigod was a series of unfortunate events that usually ended either messily or with a whimper.
It kind of makes you want to read more fairy tales.
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Josephine is hosting a blog tour giveaway (US only)! The giveaway will end at the end of the tour. She’s giving away a Kindle with either the Starcrossed or Dreamless skin on it. To enter, you must comment on each blog tour post (only once) as well as follow Josie on twitter. For details about the giveaway visit Josie’s blog!
Many thanks to Josie for stopping by today to discuss mythology vs. fairy tales! Friends, don’t forget to join the LIVE chat with Josie on Facebook tomorrow, WEDNESDAY 5/30 at 9:00 PM EDT!